Tailoring Alphabetical Metamaterials in Optical Frequency: Plasmonic Coupling, Dispersion, and Sensing

Jun Zhang, Cuong Cao, Xinlong Xu, Chihao Liow, Shuzhou Li, PingHeng Tan, Qihua Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Tailoring optical properties of artificial metamaterials, whose optical properties go beyond the limitations of conventional and naturally occurring materials, is of importance in fundamental research and has led to many important applications such as security imaging, invisible cloak, negative refraction, ultrasensitive sensing, transformable and switchable optics. Herein, by precisely controlling the size, symmetry and topology of alphabetical metamaterials with U, S, Y, H, U-bar and V shapes, we have obtained highly tunable optical response covering visible-to-infrared (Vis-NIR) optical frequency. In addition, we show a detailed study on the physical origin of resonance modes, plasmonic coupling, the dispersion of electronic and magnetic surface plasmon polaritons, and the possibility of negative refraction. We have found that all the electronic and magnetic modes follow the dispersion of surface plasmon polaritons thus essentially they are electronic- and magnetic-surface-plasmon-polaritons-like (ESPP-like and MSPP-like) modes resulted from diffraction coupling between localized surface plasmon and freely-propagating light. Based on the fill factor and formula of magnetism permeability, we predict that the alphabetical metamaterials should show the negative refraction capability in visible optical frequency. Furthermore, we have demonstrated the specific ultrasensitive surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) sensing of monolayer molecules and femtomolar food contaminants by tuning their resonance to match the laser wavelength, or by tuning the laser wavelength to match the plasmon resonance of metamaterials. Our tunable alphabetical metamaterials provide a generic platform to study the electromagnetic properties of metamaterials and explore the novel applications in optical frequency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3796-3806
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
Early online date26 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Alphabetical metamaterials
  • optical frequency
  • tunable optical response
  • plasmonic coupling
  • surface plasmon polaritons
  • surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)

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